Note: all commissions from sales of the above books go direct to the Foundation.
Some encouraging news from Ireland… the Think Big organisation’s latest survey of 14-25-year-olds shows that there is a flourishing community spirit there. More than 75% of this age group prefer to live where they know their neighbours by name, and 64% believe in giving back to the community.
Think Big is a collaboration between O2 and Headstrong (the National Centre for Youth Mental Health), which aims to make a difference to young people’s mental health by inspiring them to get involved in community projects, using passions such as music, cooking, film, photography and technology. Since it started in 2010 it has funded more than 300 projects.
Interestingly, when the young people were asked to name someone who had inspired them, almost a quarter gave Barack Obama as their first choice – however, more than one third nominated their parents as their biggest role models. Headstrong says that it’s really key for a young person’s mental well-being to have at least “one good adult” in their lives… something that we at the Chreda Foundation agree with, wholeheartedly.
More than 2,400 teenagers took part in last week’s two-day Ten Tors Challenge, in torrential rain and gale-force winds, but a team of six from Bristol received medals even though they didn’t complete the gruelling 35-mile trek across Dartmoor in Devon, UK.
As the 15-year-olds attempted to cross a swollen river they came across a girl who was being carried away by the floodwaters – they rescued her, then spent three-and-a-half hours assisting more than 100 other competitors cross the river safely. As a result, they missed their chance to complete the challenge.
But Brigadier Piers Hankinson, who organises the Challenge, heard about their selflessness, which he said “demonstrated the true spirit of the Ten Tors”, and awarded the team from Bedminster Down School with their medals anyway, at a special ceremony.
At the beginning of the year I posted an article here about the brave 15-year-old schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai, who defied the Taliban and fought for the right of young women to receive schooling in her home country of Pakistan. This was followed, a couple of months ago, by an update, revealing that having partially recovered from the assassination attempt she had now resumed her education at a Birmingham (UK) school.
This week the young lady’s bravery was recognised in Oklahoma City, USA, where her father Ziauddin accepted on her behalf (as well as his own) the Reflections of Hope Award, which is given annually by the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum in honour of the 168 victims of the 1995 federal building bombing.
In accepting the award Mr Yousafzai, who is now the education attaché at the Pakistani Consulate in Birmingham, described the Taliban as being “more afraid of the books than bombs”, and explained that terrorist attacks such as the Boston Marathon bombings last month are a regular occurrence in Pakistan, where the Taliban had claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people over the last thirty years. “My part of the world is bleeding”, he said. “I’m here to bring my people out of terrorism…We should defeat bad ideas with good ideas.”
He dedicated the award to those fathers, brothers, sons and husbands “who believe and who accept and who respect their daughters, their sisters, their mothers and their wives.” He said he was honoured to be widely known in Pakistan as Malala’s father, despite its being a male-dominated society.
Although unable to be present at the award ceremony Malala sent along a recorded acceptance speech, in which she referred to the encouragement that the Oklahoma memorial offered in the battle for girls’ rights, worldwide, to receive an education. “Every girl, every child, to be educated”… as she has previously said.
Join the British Red Cross in celebrating the extraordinary things that ordinary young people do in the UK every day to help others in their communities: nominate a young person aged 25 or under for the charity’s annual Humanitarian Citizen Awards. You have until the 14th of July to vote HERE for those groups or individuals you feel selflessly make a difference to the lives of others in their community, through:
- First aid (“young first aid heroes who have stepped forward to help when needed, performing life-saving acts or responding to small-scale incidents”);
- Volunteering (“young people who give up their own time to help others, in whatever capacity”);
- Community action (“young people – or groups – who make a positive contribution in the community”); or
- Fundraising (“do you know anyone who’s been using their imagination and energy to raise money for a good cause?”).
The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 5th October 2013.
Photo: Outgoing Youth Leader (Havering’s first), Alicia Murphy
An online election will be taking place today (Thursday the 9th of May 2013), to select one of three young candidates who wish to represent the views of their peers across Havering London Borough, as Young Leader. As the Borough’s website advises eligible voters, “The post holder will participate in the Havering Youth Congress, where they will listen to and represent your views. The Young Leader will meet with other young people, within the borough, across London and the rest of the UK, so that they can tell politicians what young [people] think and feel.” It goes on to say that they will:
- Advise Havering Councillors on youth issues;
- Represent young people in Havering, London and nationally;
- Develop ideas and work with other bodies to further younger people living, working and studying in Havering;
- Attend ceremonial events.
Here’s what these inspiring young people have to say about themselves…
My name is Alice Donohue and I am 20 years old. Over the past few years, I have been Head Girl at my School, the Member of Youth Parliament for Havering and Chair of the Havering Youth Council. I have also worked closely alongside the police as a member of both the CPCG and IAG panels I also co-run a charity with a friend of mine supporting young people and encouraging them to involved in volunteering and charity work.
I am keen and a good listener and I have done a lot of work with young people. As a young person, I feel the young leader role is perfect for me as I have already worked closely alongside the Council and have the necessary skills to take on the role! I am lots of fun and have bundles of energy. I am keen and ready to go and accept the challenge of being young leader whole heartedly and with an open mind.
I have been a positive role model from young. I have experiences in leadership roles ad Deputy Head Girl, House Leader, School Council Leader, Business and Enterprise Squad Leader and Deputy Sports Captain at the Albany School. I carried out these roles effectively and efficiently to the admiration and respect of my peers and teachers. I have been involved in local politics since 11 years old when my mother was the Civic Mayor of the London Borough of Hackney 2006-2007 and I was her official Consort. Along with my Dad we run free Maths tuition for young people in Havering at Myplace youth centre in Harold Hill. This project, which is the first of its kind in the Borough was launched by the Mayor, Cllr. Lynden Thorpe in August 2012. I’m also a Youth Leader at my church and one of my responsibilities is to organise fund raising events for local charities in Havering. I will be working with 5 Deputies; Peace Ugbeikwu, Mahria Fayyaz, Stacey Button, Nikhita Lester, Alex Kirby and Ryan Fernandes who will assist me in my duties as Young Leader.
- As Havering Young Leader I will hold surgeries for young people and promote a young citizen panel which will be open to any young person who wants to get involved in having a real say and a genuine decision making power within the Borough
- I aim to raise the profile of the young people of Havering and champion their cause effectively
- I will help to develop a link with the Council into the wider communication initiatives which will reflect young people developing interest in the wider community
- I will help the Borough to plan (organise and facilitate) youth conferences with/for young people across the Borough
- Initiate workshops with the police and local young people explaining issues of community safety and how they can contribute to their own safety to promote peaceful co-existence among youths
- I will aim to increase youth participation in politics
- I will be engaged in a project with other young people to produce a Directory of Services which will sign post young people to organisations dealing with a number of their issues such as health, careers, sports and advice.
- I will aim to promote healthy competition in sports and academics amongst schools in the Borough
I’m appealing to young people to vote for me because I have the qualities, the skills and the experience in leadership roles which will help me in fulfilling my role as Havering Young Leader
I’m part of an active collective including; Terrel Wilson, Rebecca Joseph, Fraser White, Andrea Whitaker, Dayane Rodrigues and Ajay Pabial. We dare to challenge current stereotypes and perceptions attached to young people. We don’t believe in figureheads, instead, collaboration. However, we made the exception to allege one individual as lead contact. We know that collective leadership can work within a political model; for example, the Green Party of Aotearoa, New Zealand.
We’re culturally diverse, embracing all age groups, genders, nationalities, sexualities and beliefs. We’ve had successful experiences working individually and collectively in our community, projects like The Outback Art House and NICHE.
I believe that the youth today have become passive; our solution to this is by engaging youths to become socially active, creating events and activities. Change is enforced upon us and we don’t react to it. We feel that young people are not listened to. We are taught not to challenge even though we feel it is wrong. As a campaign we want to empower and inspire young people to have a voice. As a collective we want to bring more opportunities to help young people develop basic skills such as confidence, communication, curiosity and independence to help them in all areas of life now and in the future, giving each individual a chance to achieve goals they have set themselves. I am aware that this opportunity is not for our selfish gain, but for the benefit of the youth of today. As a group of creative individuals we believe we can give a fresh new outlook on today’s society, and with our creative backgrounds, develop our campaign in a unique and stimulating way.